For an athlete who started her high school career playing basketball in the winter, Tyra Turner certainly delivered a big twist — and a big finish in her final winter season.
After two years of hoops, Turner switched to gymnastics, joined the Madison United (East and La Follette program) and became a force on the local scene.
Earlier this month, the La Follette senior wrapped up her high school gymnastics career with a fifth-place finish in the all-around at the WIAA Division 1 state meet in Wisconsin Rapids.
Turner also tied for the state championship in vaulting, scoring 9.6 points, after winning the Big Eight Conference and sectional all-around titles.
As a result, Turner has been named the Wisconsin State Journal/WisconsinPrepZone.com All-Area Gymnast of the Year for the 2017-18 season.
“Gymnastics has been a part of my life for 14 years now, and I can’t think of a better way for it to turn out,” Turner said at the state meet.
Still, when Turner started high school at La Follette, she opted to make basketball her winter sport and planned to compete in gymnastics on the club level at the same time.
That wasn’t unique, at least for her: Turner has competed simultaneously in varsity track and field and softball each year at La Follette. She played volleyball in the fall.
Also considered for the Gymnast of the Year award was Mount Horeb senior Krista Taylor, who worked through a knee injury to earn a fourth-place finish in the all-around at the Division 2 state meet, helping the Vikings take third in the team race.
Coach of the year
Middleton put an end to Sun Prairie’s three-year run atop the Big Eight, scoring 138.55 points in the conference meet to edge the defending champs by less than three-quarters of a point.
Middleton repeated the feat in the sectional, scoring 140.725 points — again beating Sun Prairie by less than a point. From there, Middleton finished ninth at Division 1 state, finishing one spot and less than half a point behind Sun Prairie.
As a result, Middleton’s Kari Steck has been named the All-Area Coach of the Year.
“This was huge, just being able to beat a really good program and snapping our second-place streak in the conference,” Steck said after the conference meet.
“Everything is coming together at the right time for us.”
Also considered for the award was Mount Horeb’s Martha Koller Faust and Sun Prairie’s Shannon Maly.
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Tyra Turner, sr., Madison East/La Follette: Finished fifth at WIAA Division 1 state (37.150 points). Also won the Big Eight Conference title (36.15) and the sectional crown (36.80). Tied Middleton’s Karina Sabol for first in state vaulting (9.6) and added a 12th place in floor exercise (9.183) and 13th on uneven bars (9.133).
Krista Taylor, sr., Mount Horeb: Overcame a knee injury to finish fourth at Division 2 state (35.850), adding individual third-place finishes on bars (9.017) and vaulting (9.167). Won her sectional title in all-around (35.425) while winning on bars, floor exercise and vaulting. Took third in the Badger Conference all-around (35.375).
Natalie Donkle, sr., Madison Memorial: Took 16th at Division 1 state (35.5) and was third in the sectional (35.725). Also took seventh at state on the balance beam (9.317) and 15th on bars (8.917).
Miah Lemanski, so., Dodgeville/Mineral Point: Took 10th at Division 2 state (34.733) and added a tie for fifth in floor exercise (9.067), an eighth on bars (9.367) and a 10th on beam (8.667). Jordan Baggot, jr., Middleton: Finished 19th at state (35.033) after taking 14th on beam (8.95) and 16th in vaulting (9.0). Helped Middleton top three-time defending champion Sun Prairie in the Big Eight meet.
Erin Dahm, sr., Mount Horeb (4th at Division 2 state, 9.200); Donkle (7th in Division 1, 9.317); Karina Sabol, jr., Middleton (12th in Division 1, 9.033).
Allayah Lane, sr., Sun Prairie (tie for 1st in Division 1, 9.400); Sabol (tie for 3rd in Division 1, 9.383); Katie Curtis, sr., Watertown (tie for 8th in Division 1, 9.333).
Turner (13th in Division 1, 9.133); Taylor (3rd in Division 2, 9.017); Donkle (15th in Division 1, 8.917).
Sabol (tie for 1st in Division 1, 9.600); Turner (tie for 1st in Division 1, 9.600); Taylor (3rd in Division 1, 9.167).
All-around: Grace O’Neil, fr., Mount Horeb; Lane; Caroline Iausly, sr., River Valley; Kayla Gehrmann, so., Jefferson; Curtis; Tessa Bockhop, so., Dodgeville/Mineral Point.
Balance beam: Baggot; Lucia Durst, jr., Madison West; Chloe Young, sr., Middleton.
Floor exercise: Turner; Lemanski; Iausly.
Uneven bars: Alex DeAngeles, jr., Madison West; Caylee Powers, so., Waunakee/Deforest; Lemanski.
Vaulting: Baggot; Lane; Amelia McDermott, jr., Madison West.
Sophie Alberts, sr., Mount Horeb; Tatem Capouch, sr., Monona Grove; Elle Honerbaum, so., Dodgeville/Mineral Point; Payton Jenks-Recker, jr., Monona Grove; Elisa Weier, so., Mount Horeb; Audry Wright, sr., Jefferson.